He had driven home from work slowly today, carefully, watching for patches of black ice. It had snowed, and although the plows had done a good job, you just never knew. He hated snow. Ever since snow no longer meant a snow day and a day off from school he had hated snow. It was cold, wet, he had to shovel it, he had to drive in it, usually watching a few SUVs drive along at 80 miles an hour, as if there was no snow. He just hated it.
And yet somehow, tonight, something was different. He got home, parked in the garage, and went inside. He started to take off his coat, but changed his mind. He took the key to the front door and went out on foot. He walked up the street, around the corner, not even thinking. In the moonlight, he saw the trees with their branches of white, straight out of the front of a Christmas card. He got up to the old place he used to go sledding. The driveway was blocked now by a huge metal gate, with fence on either side. No way to get to the big hill now. It didn't really matter. The sled was long gone, as were the days he could sit on it without having it sink into the snow. And the hill was no longer maintained. The grass and bramble hadn't been cut in years, not since the property had been abandoned.
He stood at the gate for a while, breathing, staring toward the hill, seeing sleds, and children, and sunshine, hearing the laughter, hearing his brother dare him to try the Big Hill for the first time, instead of the little one all the little kids used. He rubbed the side of his head, the spot where he hit it on the sled that first time on the Big Hill, although he didn't realize he was rubbing it now. He didn't realize time was passing, had passed.
He meandered home again, arm behind him, as if dragging his beloved Flexible Flyer. He walked onto his vast lawn and wandered around aimlessly. He didn't feel his feet getting wet, or his slacks. Belatedly he hoped his scent wouldn't dissuade the deer from coming around, as they had been wont to do lately. He lay down and stared at the moon. Smiling, he moved his arms up and down and his legs open and closed, making a snow angel. But somehow, he couldn't remember how he ever used to get up after making the angel without messing it up. How did he get up? He could hear his mother from so long ago, calling from the window to get up already, he'd get all wet and catch a cold. But now he'd pretend he didn't hear her. He'd come in soon. As soon as he could figure out how to get up.